Someone once said that ‘One language sets you in a corridor for life, two languages open every door along the way’. Indeed, being able to speak another language is a skill which can be hugely beneficial in today’s globalised world. Communication is a major part of our lives, both personal and professional alike, and languages are an inseparable part of it.
Nonetheless, many people struggle to learn a foreign language, whether it’s because of the lack of time or motivation or simply because they can’t see the benefits behind it. However, what better inspiration for learning a new language than travelling to a foreign country? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top 5 reasons why leaning a new language before you travel is an excellent idea!
- To fully understand the culture
Traveling to a new destination is the only way to truly experience it. No amount of documentaries, research or books will ever give you the raw understanding of a culture than you’ll be able to gain from witnessing it with your own eyes. But seeing isn’t everything.
Language and culture are intertwined. They have evolved together over hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years to reflect each other. Language is such a vital part of any culture that you won’t be able to fully understand one without the other.
Knowing a language of a country you are visiting will allow you to genuinely experience the native culture in a more personal and richer way. From communicating with the locals to understanding their beliefs and temperaments – the heart of any culture lies in its native language.
We can see this clearly echoed in the work of professional linguists. When translating from one language to another, culture often plays an important part of their work and external factors such as religion, history or local customs must be taken into account as they can directly influence the suitability of a translation. In fact, majority of translation companies work solely with native speakers of the target language, as this allows them to better reflect the country’s culture into the translation. You can learn more about specialist translation services here.
- To meet new people
Despite a common belief, not everyone in the world is able to speak English. In fact, only less than 25% of the world’s population does!
By leaning a new language, native to your travel destination, you create an opportunity to meet and communicate with people who you might otherwise not engage with.
Being able to speak with locals in their native language opens a world of opportunities and possibilities – from leaning about their way of life, understanding their culture or simply, making new friends!
- To truly explore your destination
A travel destination can be explored in two ways – either by following the beaten track and taking pictures of the exact same things millions of people have seen before you, or by exploring local, hidden gems, tacked away from the hustle and bustle of the tourism industry.
Knowing a native language of the country you are visiting will allow you to meet locals who will then show you their ‘real-life’ – local restaurants not listed on TripAdvisor, hidden beaches tacked away from tourists or buildings important to the local community. Seeing and exploring such gems will give you a true, raw, and unique understanding of the country, not yet adapted to accommodate tourists.
- To test and improve your skills
When learning a new language, the true test comes when you speak in it with its native speaker. Different accents, pace of speaking or jargon can often make it terribly difficult to understand the language, even if you thought you’re pretty good at it!
There really isn’t a better way of testing and improving your language skills than speaking and communicating with local who are its native speakers.
Even if you’re only visiting your destination for a week or two, the quality and amount of practice you’ll be able to get can by far be the best way to improve your language skills.
- To be safe in an emergency
Last, but definitely not least – speaking a country’s native language will definitely come in handy in case of an emergency. Whether it’s asking for directions when you’re lost, calling for help or simply avoiding foods you are allergic to, knowing that you can explain the situation clearly regardless of whether the person you are speaking to understand English can be genuinely reassuring.
As you can see, travelling abroad can be a truly fantastic motive for you to start learning a new, foreign language. Whether you decide to learn the language fluently or simply enough to get by, you can rest assured that your new skills will come in handy several times.